Back to School Safety

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It’s that time of year again! More children are headed back to the classroom, more vehicles will be on the road, and more pedestrians will be walking in the neighborhood at peak hours. While we know that across our country the school year will still look different for many, we want to remind everyone to keep safety top-of-mind as your children start school. Read along and share these key road safety tips with your family:

School Bus Safety

  • Yellow flashing lights on a school bus means slow down—don’t speed up—because the bus is preparing to stop. There are likely students waiting to get on the bus or parents waiting nearby to pick up children.
  • Red flashing lights mean stop—and wait at least 20 feet behind the bus—because children are getting on or off the school bus. Stay stopped until the red lights stop flashing, the extended stop-arm is withdrawn, and the bus begins moving.
  • Never pass a bus loading or unloading children.
  • While waiting for the bus to arrive, teach your children to stay five steps away from the curb and always wait until the bus comes to a complete stop and the bus driver signals for your child to board.

Driving/Pedestrian Safety

  • Watch the road—not your phone—while driving.
  • Even when there is no bus around—or when a bus’s lights aren’t flashing—still watch out for children, particularly in the morning or mid-afternoon, around school arrival and dismissal times. Be alert as you back out of a driveway, or drive through a neighborhood, school zone or bus stop.
  • Obey school zone speed limits and follow your school’s drop-off procedure.
  • For pedestrians—especially children—use the sidewalk whenever possible, and if there isn’t a sidewalk, walk on the edge of the street facing traffic.
  • Make eye contact with drivers before crossing, use marked crosswalks (when available) or intersections to cross the street, and look left-right-left for vehicles or bikes before crossing.

Car Safety

  • Since many families are at home more often right now, it’s important to remember to lock all unattended vehicles and keep your keys out of reach. Young children can see a car as a playground, and crawl in and get trapped.
  • In 10 minutes, a car’s temperature can rise over 20 degrees. Make a habit to look before you lock! Try these tips to avoid putting children at risk of heatstroke.
  • Many children are killed or seriously injured in backover accidents. This can be prevented by teaching children not to play in or around cars, always walk around your vehicle and check the area before backing up, and make sure to look behind you while backing up slowly in case a child dashes behind your vehicle unexpectedly.

Sources:
U.S. Department of Transportation – National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
NHTSA Child Safety
National Safety Council Back to School Safety Checklist

For information from the CDC on back-to-school resources, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/community/schools-childcare/index.html.

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